One of the best ways to ensure healthy teeth and gums is with a good home care program.

Proper brushing and flossing is the one way you can make sure you are doing what you can to protect your mouth. Proper brushing consists of about three to five minutes of concentrated brushing.


One of the major causes of tooth loss today is due to periodontal disease or gingivitis as it is commonly called.

Gum disease is caused by tartar. Tartar is what plaque turns into when it is not removed. Because plaque turns into tartar literally overnight it is very important to floss twice a day in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Bad Breath

Nothing can defeat a first impression easier than bad breath.

Most of the time, you don’t even know you have a problem until someone tells you making it even more embarrassing. Some people tend to think that using the right mouthwash will solve their troubles. But generally speaking, a mouthwash will only sweeten your breath for just a short time. The real problem behind recurring bad breath is the presence of plaque on your teeth. The plaque contains bacteria, a key factor in bad breath. If you have a problem with your breath, you may not be doing the proper oral hygiene at home. At least twice a day, your teeth require a 2 ½ to 3-minute brushing. Flossing should be done as well to loosen the plaque between your teeth. If your gums bleed when you rush or floss, that could be a sign of gum disease. Gums that bleed are not normal. Regular dental examinations allow for early detection of dental problems.

Mouth Wash to Prevent Tooth Decay?

Mouthwash does not prevent tooth decay. A fluoride rinse however is a good addition to a thorough brushing and flossing routine.


Fluoride is a nutrient, which our bodies need for growth and development.

Fluoride also helps to reduce dental decay. When fluoride is taken internally during the time that the teeth are being formed, it is incorporated into the enamel of the teeth thereby helping to make the teeth less prone to decay. Once teeth are formed in the mouth however, fluoride taken internally no longer has any effects on the tooth structure. At this point fluoridated toothpaste’s and rinses will work with your saliva on the enamel of the teeth, helping to re-mineralize any enamel that has been broken down. Plaque and sugars work with each other to create an acid, which causes decay.

Using fluoridated toothpaste together with limiting sugary foods will also help to prevent decay. Fluoride is also effective in decreasing sensitivity of teeth. A fluoride toothpaste or rinse can be used at home as a remedy for sensitive teeth. Your dentist can also administer fluoride in a stronger form. This treatment is also effective for teeth, which are sensitive at the gum line. Fluoride has been a big help in reducing dental decay. Together with regular visits to your dentist you can work towards a lifelong healthy and happy smile.


Plaque is a sticky, soft invisible film that forms on exposed surfaces of your teeth.


The bacteria, which make up the plaque, react with sugars and starches in foods to produce an acid. It’s the acid that dissolves tooth enamel and begins the decaying process. After repeated acid attacks, and if plaque is not removed daily, the enamel eventually breaks down and decays – thus a cavity is formed.

The irritants in plaque also cause inflammation of the gums making them tender and prone to bleeding. This is the first stage of periodontal disease. If you don’t remove the soft plaque, it will mix with saliva and harden. Once this takes place, brushing will not take the film off your teeth and your dentist or dental hygienist must remove the tartar. To keep plaque under control, brush and floss at least twice a day. Visiting your dentist for regular examinations also play a large role in the prevention process.


Sensitive teeth

If occasionally you experience discomfort due to either hot or cold foods, or cold air hitting the teeth you may or may not have a dental problem. Some people have very thin enamel or have worn away enamel due to improper brushing. Using a brush that is not hard will help in preventing the erosion of enamel. If however your teeth are very sensitive let your dentist know so that it can be properly treated.

Concerns regarding Tongue Piercing…

Tongue piercing is becoming more common. Like other forms of body piercing, it carries serious risks during the procedure itself. These include the risk of local or systemic infection. Local infection can occur because the mouth is hard to sterilize and many places that pierce tongues do not always maintain a sterile environment.

Systemic infection is always a possibility and includes the risk of hepatitis and AIDS. The rinsing with mouthwash may not take care of an infection if it is serious. It is important to remember that piercing establishments are not regulated by law nor are the operators licensed. The operator’s experience and competence can vary and are not guaranteed. Like other forms of body piercing, tongue piercing also can result in an allergy if the metals used are not of the highest quality. Many times, the stated price of the piercing does not include the jewelry to be placed.

Unlike other forms of piercing, the tongue also caries the increased risk of bleeding problems. The tongue has major blood vessels within it and many operators are not aware of this. The jewelry may also be swallowed if loosened and result in choking.

In addition, unlike other forms of body piercing, tongue piercing also caries the risk of damage to the surrounding teeth. The hard jewelry can chip and break the enamel or fillings of the teeth as one talks and eats. This damage can also result in the death of the tooth’s inner pulp if the trauma to the tooth is chronic. This tooth damage may result in the need for expensive crowns to restore a smile or even a root canal to keep the tooth. These are important matters to consider before undergoing tongue piercing. If there is a problem after tongue piercing, it is important not only to contact the piercing establishment, but your physician and dentist as needed. Your smile and your health are important in the long run!

Margaret J. Fehrenbach, RDH, MS Educational Consultant

Choice of foods to prevent cavities

Plaque, which is a sticky film that coats our teeth during the day, has thousands of bacteria, which interact with the foods we eat and cause cavities. Foods both dental and nutritionally recommended are high in nutrients and low in sugar. Caution foods are not recommended dentally.

Orthodontics & Oral Hygiene

The level of cooperation between the patient and the orthodontist determines the rate of success of orthodontic treatment. It is important to remember that although orthodontic appliances do not cause cavities they can contribute to them if the mouth is not properly maintained.

Broken appliances, brackets or wires need to be repaired immediately, be sure to call your orthodontist as soon as possible.